Star Wars: The Old Republic Q&A - The Republic Trooper Character Class
LucasArts grants us some insight into the latest character class to be revealed for this highly anticipated online game: the Republic trooper.
Although most massively multiplayer games offer gigantic worlds full of monsters to kill, treasures to find, monsters to kill, and even more monsters to kill, developer BioWare is going in a different direction with Star Wars: The Old Republic. This new game, in development at BioWare's Austin, Texas studio, will attempt to combine the vast exploration and social networking of a massively multiplayer game with the in-depth, character-driven story of a single-player role-playing game. That would sound almost too ambitious...except that BioWare itself has authored some of the most popular single-player role-playing games in recent years, including 2003's Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic. Among other characters that you'll be able to play in the game, one will be the subject of this interview: the Republic trooper, described here by principal lead writer Daniel Erickson and lead combat designer Damion Schubert.
GameSpot: We understand that this week's reveal is the Republic trooper character class. Give us an overview of this character. What is this profession?
Daniel Erickson: The Republic trooper is part of an elite group of special-forces soldiers that rose to prominence during the war and in the years after. As friction grew between the Jedi and the Senate in the days after the Republic signed the treaty of Coruscant, it became even more important for the military to have its own people to call on for the most difficult assignments. The trooper class is there for everyone who loved all of the different types of stormtroopers in the original trilogy, the clone troopers in the newer movies and TV show, and war stories in general.
GS: We understand that the trooper, like all characters in The Old Republic, will have a backstory that will help endear characters to their players, like the protagonists of single-player games. What's the backstory of the typical trooper character?
DE: Players will experience firsthand the most important parts of the trooper's story. But when the game begins, [new trooper characters have] just finished advanced training in forward assault, search & destroy, and advanced recon, and been asked to join Havoc Squad, the most elite of the special-forces groups.
GS: We understand that much like in the Knights of the Old Republic games, the universe of Star Wars: The Old Republic will be politically charged--tensions between the Sith and the Republic have made the people of many nations distrustful of, if not openly hostile to, outsiders. Being a Republic soldier, where does the trooper character stand?
DE: On Republic worlds, the trooper is a hero. But the presence of Republic military on neutral worlds or among those that suffered during the war can make [things] very uncomfortable. Many planets believe that it is better to not do anything to make the Sith think they are taking sides, and would rather not see troopers anywhere near them.
GS: Trooper characters are described as having indomitable spirits. How does this translate to the way a trooper character plays? Will they be experts at soaking up damage, for instance? Will their high spirits enable them to evade death longer or be revived more quickly by way of adrenaline rush?
Damion Schubert: Our troopers are leaders on the battlefield. This makes itself visible in the form of battlefield command buffs (enhancing abilities that strengthen their targets) [that] they give their companions and party members, which make their parties stronger and more flexible.
GS: Trooper characters are also described as being fiercely devoted to their companions. How does this translate to the characters' abilities? In terms of building up a powerful and well-balanced adventuring group, what will troopers bring to the table?
DS: Troopers and their companions bring the pain. Troopers believe that nearly any problem that presents itself before them can be solved with more firepower. In massively multiplayer terms, they're the highest ranged DPS (damage-per-second) class that the Republic has available to it.
GS: What are some of the other strengths of the trooper as a massively multiplayer character?
DS: Well, to me, the real thing that the trooper brings to the table is the sheer ability to wreak havoc. Troopers believe in speaking softly and carrying a big gun, and wreaking havoc on the battleground with an arsenal of heavy weaponry, grenades, and demolitions.
Troopers are also heavily armored war machines. They definitely have the armor and the tools to take the hits, as well as just enough control to try to assert their will on the battleground. Our troopers are well-rounded characters who use technology and superior firepower to allow themselves and their companions to compete and succeed on the same battleground as the Force-using classes.
GS: What sort of player do you think will enjoy playing as the Republic trooper?
DE: Fans of heroic military fiction, people who love stormtroopers or clone troopers. The trooper story is a war story set in the Star Wars universe. It's you and your squad, in the dirt and under fire, fighting to keep the Republic free.
GS: On a somewhat unrelated note, could you give us an update on the game's development? What aspects of the game are the team working on now?
DE: Right now we're hard at work on our E3 demo, preparing to reveal to the world what TOR really looks like. People are going to be surprised.
GS: Finally, is there anything else you'd like to add about the trooper character, or about Star Wars: The Old Republic?
DE With TOR, we're trying something completely new. We're giving a full story and RPG gameplay experience to each class, with as much choice and depth as any single BioWare game in the past...and far more content. This makes for hugely different experiences both in gameplay and story.
For example, while the bounty hunter lives in a world that's akin to a classic Western [motion picture] with hard-walking gunslingers that make their own rules, the trooper is a patriot in wartime, serving his people and deciding what lines he's willing to cross if it means defeating an Empire who wants to put his beloved Republic in chains. The bounty hunter may be chasing a famous smuggler or fighting in an underground gladiatorial circuit, while across the planet, the trooper is planning a complicated assault on an Imperial base or staging an extraction of the last survivors of a Jedi mission from where they're trapped in enemy territory. It's like playing through completely different movies in the same universe.
GS: Thanks to you both.
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